Press Release Article


AMID ONGOING RECORD VOLUME ACROSS ITS FACILITIES AND HISTORIC LEVELS OF INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT, PORT AUTHORITY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS APPROVES FIRST INFLATION-BASED CHANGES TO AGENCY’S TOLLS, FARES AND FEES SINCE 2015

Date: Sep 26, 2019
Press Release Number: 155-2019

Inflation-based increases required to fund highest levels of investment in its history and operations of Port Authority’s vital transportation assets;

Board adopts plan following robust public engagement period including seven public hearings that generated more than 1,300 comments

Bridges and tunnels toll to increase based on inflation-based schedule mandated by Board in 2008 and affirmed in 2011; triggered by cumulative impact of inflation since 2015 reaching $1.00 threshold

Cash/Toll by Mail rate to increase by $1.00 on January 5, 2020;

E-ZPass peak discount to be reduced from $2.50 to $2.25; off-peak discount to be reduced from $4.50 to $4.25

PATH base fare will remain $2.75; multi-trip discount to be reduced – first change in five years effective November 1, 2019

AirTrain JFK fare has not changed since system launched in 2003;

Last increase to AirTrain Newark fare came in 2005;

Fares for both AirTrains will move to $7.75, effective November 1, 2019

Airport Ground Transportation Access Fee on for-hire vehicles and taxis, modeled off peer airports, reduced following engagement with driver community; new commitments include upgraded anti-hustler effort with zero-tolerance for illegal pickups, multiple improvements for driver facilities and improvements to taxi dispatch system

New York/New Jersey Staten Island Bridges Discount Plan to remain at 3+ monthly trips and 50% off the E-ZPass rate

Amid record-setting use of its facilities and with major redevelopment projects underway across the region, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners today approved the first inflation-based adjustments to the agency’s tolls, fares and fees since 2015 in line with the inflation-adjusted schedule mandated by the Board in 2008 and reaffirmed in 2011. The automatic increases are triggered when the cumulative impact of inflation on existing toll rates reaches $1.00, as measured from the last increase. The cumulative impact of inflation since 2015 will reach this level in 2020, prompting an increase of the cash toll rate at all Port Authority crossings from $15.00 to $16.00, as of January 5, 2020. The adopted proposal also eliminates the E-ZPass discount for out-of-state accounts.

In addition, there will be changes to PATH’s fare structure with the PATH base fare remaining at its current $2.75 for a single trip but reducing the discount for PATH multi-trip fares. Increases to the AirTrain fares at JFK and Newark, which have not changed since 2003 and 2005, will go into effect later this year. An airport ground transportation access fee, to be implemented in late 2020, will be charged to all for-hire vehicles and taxis, consistent with the practice at peer airports. This fee was reduced from the originally proposed amount of $4.00 for for-hire drop-offs and pick-ups and $4.00 for taxi pick-ups to $2.50 for for-hire drop-offs and pick-ups; $1.25 for pooled for-hire drop-offs and pickups and an initial taxi fee of $1.25 per pick-up.

These changes will allow the Port Authority to continue to fund record levels of investment to rebuild its legacy transportation infrastructure into modern, world-class 21st century facilities.

The Board’s action follows a robust public engagement process that included seven public hearings, including two on Staten Island, and a 9-week online comment period that generated approximately 1,300 comments. Two commissioners, one from New York and one from New Jersey, were represented at each hearing and all commissioners received a copy of all written and verbal comments. As a result of the comments received, Port Authority staff recommended changes to its original proposals for the airport ground transportation access fee and the New York/New Jersey Staten Island Bridges Discount Plan. The Board approved the overall proposal with those modifications.

The inflation-based adjustments adopted by the Board will support the Port Authority’s 10-year, 2017-2026 $37 billion Capital Plan. The Board also approved the required biennial reassessment of the 2017-2026 Capital Plan today.

Unprecedented Investment and Tangible Progress in Rebuilding Region’s Infrastructure

The Port Authority is delivering an unprecedented level of investment as the agency rebuilds the region’s infrastructure and works to transform its legacy assets into modern, world-class facilities capable of meeting 21st century expectations. Tangible progress in developing these new and revitalized facilities as part of the agency’s unprecedented 10-year Capital Plan is now underway and beginning to be visible throughout the region.

Airports: More than $30 billion in public and private funding committed to transform the region’s three major airports into world-class gateways.

Tangible Progress:

  • Opened last December the first new 18-gate concourse at LaGuardia Airport as part of the $8 billion complete rebuild of the airport
  • Broke ground last year on the redevelopment of Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal One
  • Construction expected to begin this fall on the transformation of JFK Airport
  • Began in May 2019 the FAA’s environmental review process for the AirTrain LGA
  • Advanced a new $2 billion project for a new AirTrain Newark

Tunnels, Bridges, & Terminals: More than $10 billion investment program to rebuild and fortify the bridges, tunnels and bus commuter facilities.

Tangible Progress:

  • Completed the new $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge – the first new bridge built by the Port Authority in 87 years – which opened last year
  • Completed in June the $1.7 billion project to raise and fully rebuild the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge – enabling record levels of cargo and providing a 21st century crossing for New Jersey and Staten Island residents
  • Construction underway for the $1.9 billion effort to “Restore the George” to ensure the bridge’s long-term structural health
  • Began in May the formal environmental review process for the replacement of obsolete Port Authority Bus Terminal

PATH: More than $5 billion investment program to improve reliability, capacity and customer experience.

Tangible Progress:

  • Progressed in December a new signal system to become the first railroad in the region to meet federally-mandated safety standards
  • Initiated the PATH Improvement Plan – consisting of strategic investments to increase capacity, reduce delays, and enhance customer experience
  • Installed real-time train information through on-platform countdown clocks on more than 260 screens and the new RidePATH smartphone app
  • Opened over the last 8 months the new headhouses of the Harrison Station – the first new PATH station in New Jersey in more than two decades
  • Advanced multiple projects in the $2 billion Superstorm Sandy resiliency program

Port: More than $2 billion of public and private investments facilitating record growth and enabling the Port of NY and NJ to overtake Long Beach, CA as the second busiest port in the U.S. based on volumes through the first four months of 2019.

Tangible Progress:

  • Facilitated access of ultra-large, efficient cargo ships to the ports by raising the Bayonne Bridge
  • Completed this month the fourth and final major terminal rail facility creating a state-of-the-art ship to rail capability, dramatically increasing the Port’s capacity to deliver or receive goods to/from destinations in the interior of the country through mainline freight railroads (CSX and Norfolk Southern)
  • Added new barges, locomotives, and related infrastructure for cross-harbor rail operations

World Trade Center: More than $1 billion invested to complete infrastructure investments that support the revitalization of the WTC site and surrounding community.

Tangible Progress:

  • Opened 3 WTC last summer
  • Created an increasingly dynamic and appealing campus that is becoming a magnet for the Lower Manhattan community and visitors
  • Advanced the construction of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center
  • Released RFP for mixed-use development of WTC Site 5, formerly location of Deutsche Bank Building and major step forward in completing WTC campus

The Port Authority is a self-funded, independent agency that does not rely on taxpayer dollars or funding from the states of New York or New Jersey. While the Port Authority generates substantial non-toll and non-fare revenues through third-party fees, rentals, and other charges to businesses operating at its facilities, these sources are not enough to cover the full cost of building and operating the Port Authority’s facilities. To maintain the Port Authority’s unprecedented investment and tangible progress in rebuilding and improving the region’s infrastructure, additional funding is required from tolls, fares, fees, and other charges. The newly-approved increases keep pace with inflation, are consistent with peer agencies, and remain true to prior Board actions.

“We’re continuing to see unprecedented levels of passenger and cargo growth at all of our facilities, which makes it imperative that we continue to make record infrastructure investments to keep pace with this growth,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “While it’s never easy to ask the public to pay more to use our facilities, the 1,300 comments we received led to important changes to the proposal. The Board will continue to listen to the public as we implement these changes that help the Port Authority to enhance mobility and accommodate regional growth and economic activity.”

“If we are to keep the region moving and provide the 21st century transportation facilities that the public deserves, we must continue to invest in rebuilding and refurbishing our legacy infrastructure,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Jeffrey Lynford. “We thank all customers and elected officials who participated in the public comment process and look forward to delivering new and improved facilities.”

“We’re grateful for all those who participated in the public comment process either by speaking at one of the seven hearings we hosted or by submitting written comments. The feedback was essential and led to meaningful changes which were adopted by the Board today,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.

Under the Board’s action today, the following adjustments to tolls, fares and fees were made:

  • The bridge and tunnel cash toll by mail rate for cars during all hours will increase from $15 to $16 as of January 5, 2020. This is the first inflation-based toll increase to the agency’s six bridges and tunnels since 2015 in line with the inflation-adjustment schedule mandated by the Board in 2008 and reaffirmed in 2011. The E-ZPass peak discount for cars will be reduced from $2.50 to $2.25; and the E-ZPass off-peak discount will be reduced from $4.50 to $4.25.
  • Discounts will no longer be allowed for bridge and tunnel customers without New York or New Jersey E-ZPass accounts. This brings the Port Authority in line with its peers, such as the New York State Thruway Authority and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which do not offer E-ZPass discounts to those who do not have a New York or New Jersey account.
  • The bridge and tunnel carpool discount will be eliminated. Toll booths are being phased out as part of the agency’s transition to cashless tolling, and it is difficult to offer a carpool discount without toll booth operators to see how many passengers are in a car. In addition, the agency’s experience with the carpool discount has raised safety concerns since significant numbers of people stand on the shoulder of busy bridge and tunnel approach roads waiting for pick up and to allow drivers to pick them up and secure a carpool discount. The discount is used today by a relatively small percentage of vehicles – about 3.2 percent.
  • The New York/New Jersey Staten Island Bridges Discount Plan, which allows for toll discounts on the three Port Authority bridges that connect New Jersey with Staten Island and is available to any E-ZPass account holder, was left intact. It provides a 50 percent discount off the base E-ZPass fare for participants who make at least three Staten Island-bound trips per month over the Staten Island crossings. Since the base E-ZPass peak fare is increasing from $12.50 to $13.75, the 50 percent discount will now provide a toll of $6.88 compared to the previous toll of $6.25. The Port Authority initially proposed that the trip threshold for the discounted toll should rise from three trips in a calendar month to 10 trips. That proposal was opposed by Staten Island elected officials and residents, who said the discount triggered by 10 monthly trips would have a direct impact on people, including those on fixed incomes, who would be unable to afford limited trips to visit relatives or sick family members. Today’s Board action retains the three-trip qualifying threshold.
  • On PATH, which has not seen a fare increase since 2014, the base fare will remain at its current $2.75 for a single trip but the discount for multi-trips will be reduced. The per-ride price for multi-trip purchases (10-trip, 20-trip or 40-trip options) will be adjusted to $2.50 on November 1, 2019 and $2.60 a year later. After 2020, PATH will maintain an inflation-based adjustment mechanism for all fares.
  • The fare for AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark, which have not changed since 2003 and 2005 respectively, will be raised from the current $5 per trip to $7.75 per trip effective November 1, 2019, with an automatic inflation-adjustment mechanism added on a going forward basis. For those including airport employees who use the system frequently, they will still be able to purchase multiple trips at the current discount rate of $25 for 10 trips.
  • The new airport ground access transportation fee was lowered from the original proposal and will not be implemented until October 3, 2020. The original proposed fee was $4.00 for each for-hire vehicle passenger pick-up and drop-off and $4.00 for each taxi pick-up. The new fee structure is $2.50 for for-hire vehicle drop-offs and pick-ups; $1.25 for pooled for-hire vehicle drop-offs and pickups and an initial taxi fee of $1.25 per taxi pick-up, moving up to $1.75 per taxi pick-up in October 2022. There is no fee for taxi drop-offs. The access fee concept mirrors those imposed at peer airports around the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and others. In response to concerns expressed by taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers, the taxi fees will be phased in over three years.

For more detailed information on each of the new tolls, fares and fees, click here.


Contact:
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.


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